Sunday, September 11, 2005
Every Act of Creation is an Act of Destruction
That is a quote attributed to Picasso, but it seems to describe what we are in the midst of right now professionally. We have alluded to things recently, and this week we should see some real progress.
Our current company is a rudderless ship that is either on the rocks, or circling the reef waiting for the inevitable hull breech. When we signed on with this company a few months back there was no real way of knowing that, despite a reasonably impressive staff, the management was of questionable skills. Basically the company has ground to a professional halt and our sales staff often sits at their desks playing video poker--if they indeed return from lunch--because they have been prevented from doing business.
We have been fortunate in that TOW--and to a lesser degree, myself--has made allies with some of the strongest figures in the office; the previously mentioned PlayBoy and G-man. Some weeks back we became aware of an exit strategy from the company by a fair number of players, PlayBoy and our manager, CB, cheif among them. It was quietly referred to as "Plan-B" (which has changed so often it technically may now be "Plan-Q"), and it involved PlayBoy spearheading a group of investors who were inclined to open a new shop using the biggest moneymakers from our current company. With the impending doom around our office we were grateful to have an escape that included us and looked more substantial. But gradually cracks began to show in the plan.
While all this was playing out we also were witness to an overall change in mood with CB in regards to the two of us. Where once she was promising us the world and hoping we could be neighbors in a tony suburb, she cooled and began to reveal a shadow to her sunny entreaties. Primary in this was her professional stance with The Odd One. In July she had declared TOW would be promoted with quick salary hikes and would personally train her to become an underwriter by the 1st of September. Just 3 weeks ago she quietly said TOW would get a large office occupied by a departing executive, so she could better do her new job. But as we have learned over time, CB's declarations and her deliveries are rarely met. To wit, no promotions, her underwriter status delayed, and a reluctance to even have meetings by request. As an example, not only has the largely unoccupied office been slated for another use, but when another worker was moved to a private quarter an office assistant got her own office by default when she loudly complained that she deserved it.
And Plan-B revealed more of CB's subterfuge. While the idea all along had been for 6-10 members of our staff to move to the new job on Oct. 1st, suddenly CB began to hint that we would actually move gradually, with TOW and myself not going over until January, while this company could sink any time now. But the crux of Plan-B always hinged on PlayBoy's needs. Welllll.....
This past Monday revealed that the investors cooled to the idea, partly due to a meeting in which PlayBoy declared that CB acted like an unprofessional ass. Their months of preparation had fallen through, and TOW had mentioned before that if a problem happened she may have some contacts. Well PlayBoy asked, and she and her best friend went to the task, and within 24 hours had a better and bigger plan in place, at a fraction of the original cost, with an office that is runing NOW. PlayBoy is plain giddy having gotten more than he expected and wants to quit tomorrow. All the while my wife was anxious, talking about how she is an amateur playing in the major leagues while trying to perform the workings of a new business entity. This surprised me. I guessed all along that she had the tools, the contacts, and the knowledge to hang with these players. I'm the neophyte here, just keeping my head beneath the cannon fire, but she has the goods. This week has proven it, and I for one am impressed.
And what of CB in these plans? This should reveal all:
Once TOW and her friend M worked this deal there was no real need to bring CB in. However M--who originally brought CB to our area--said she could come along, and Playboy and G-man would pitch in to guarantee she would have a fat salary. CB abjectly refused the offer. Friday night we all had drinks to discuss the plan and they all were surprised this woman would deny herself and her family like that. I said to G-man that I figured she set up any and every deal with her positioned as the powerhead. He looked at me wide-eyed and said that was exactly what has been happening. This has led to a rather amusing week from my wife.
When CB was apprised of the situation on Tuesday (that the current deal died, but a new one came up via TOW) The Odd One made a series of remarkably intuitive predictions. First she figured CB would not see the opportunity offered and would interpret it as an underhanded move, despite TOW wanting to sit privately with her for over a week. She said Wed. CB would be cool to her, and yes, both she and her new husband were standoffish, if not silent. She also predicted CB would meet with the other players to undermine TOW and woo them to her side. And to a person, correct again. Thursday my wife speculated her boss would start to professionally tear her down, and we weren't in our seats 15 minutes before she came over to talk openly about the numerous problems she's been finding with her work. Comparisons of the actual work meanwhile showed they were basically working at the same level of quality, (while TOW has yet to be trained, mind you.) Friday she guessed that CB would make a last ditch effort at promising how good things will be in our current office, hoping to lock everyone in place. Yes again.
Word went out that our current problems will be alleviated and promises of big changes will quickly be in place and the company will be running much better in the coming months. While some people thought it was a good sign I asked G-man, PlayBoy and others: "Without asking if it is true or not, aren't these the kinds of things she was supposed to have been doing for the past 3 months or so? Why should we believe her now?"
As things stand right now this company is about to see its 3 biggest producers, acounting for conservatively 75% of its business, walk by the end of the month, not to mention a highly skilled underwriter and a struggling but handsome processor. If this place couldn't run with these people in place I can only speculate what is about to happen when they leave. The truth is however few believe the place will be around for long.
Posted by The Even Husband ::
10:46 PM ::